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Friends drifting away; not sure if it's my fault

  • 06-09-2022 4:07pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1

    In the last year or so, I've felt that a few people I would once have considered very close friends are starting to drift away. If it was just one friend, I would probably have written it off as regretful, but one of those things that happens sometimes. But as it's four different people from different parts of my life, I'm wondering if it's something I'm doing.

    I'm in a relationship, but not married and no kids. Three of my friends are now married (one of them also has a baby) and one is engaged. I don't know if part of the drift is us being at slightly different life stages.

    Friend 1 is married and lives abroad. Previously we would have got together whenever she was home, and I've visited her plenty too. In the last year, I've noticed that a lot of the time it's me who is initiating contact (it was always pretty equal before). The last time she let me know she was home was February. Previously she's visited a good bit more frequently than this, and I can't help wondering if she's been home since, but if I'm no longer on the list of 'people she has to see'. Friend 2 also lives abroad, and is married with a 1 year old. Again, despite constantly telling me 'we need to catch up', she never responded to my message trying to pin down a date to get together when she was home this summer.

    Friend 3 was quite odd. A couple of months ago, I attended her wedding with my boyfriend. There was no formal day two event , but she invited the two of us over to visit her place the day after the wedding. She was in a strange mood, and I felt like she couldn't wait to get us out of the house. At the time I put it down to her being hungover, having to pack for her honeymoon (which was the following day) or perhaps her not being 100% comfortable with my boyfriend (he was a little quiet that day and she hadn't met him before). So at the time, I tried not to read too much into it. But since then, I've heard nothing from her - no thank you for coming to the wedding, no thanks for our gift, no message to say hi - nothing at all. I know the onus doesn't lie only with her to reach out, but I was a bit hesitant about getting in touch first after the way she was with us last time I saw her, and the lack of contact since has sort of made me wonder if I did something wrong that day after the wedding.

    Friend 4 is a slightly different kettle of fish. Again, I've heard very little from her in the last 6 months, despite trying to keep in touch. I reached out to say happy birthday a while back and got no response. More recently I suggested she join a night out with others. She already had plans for that evening - which was totally fair enough - but didn't suggest another catch-up and hasn't been in touch since. I think the situation is slightly different here though, because I know from others she's going through a stressful time in various areas of her life.

    So there you have it. If it was just friend 4 acting this way, I'd put it down to her being stressed. If it was just one of my other friends, I'd put it down to natural drift over time. But this happening with so many people quite close together has me worried. I'm torn between thinking I should reach out more myself, and not wanting to annoy people. It's lonely having drifted from so many close friends, and I miss them.

    Maybe it's normal for friendships to change when people start getting married, and maybe they see me as having less in common with them now? I keep second guessing myself and trying to figure out if the way I've been acting myself has caused people to move away from me, but I can't figure it out. Or could it just be bad luck and coincidence that this has happened with so many people all around the same time? Have I become too sensitive since it started happening, and am I imagining slights where none exist? I'm in the third serious romantic relationship of my adult life, and I've also wondered if people are getting annoyed hearing about the latest relationship and see me as being so far away from their life-stage.

    I don't have an extreme personality and don't usually fall out with others. All these girls are from different parts of my life, so it's not that I've done something that would make an entire friendship group all distance themselves together. Curious to get other people's takes on it, and perhaps to see if other people have experienced anything similar in the past. Thanks!

    Post edited by DoubleBubble2 on


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,473 ✭✭✭victor8600

    It is normal. Your friends may want to respond to your offers to "catch up", but all the small stuff like having to drive a kid to a GAA practice each Saturday just keep reducing the possibility of that actually happening. Is there anything you can do? Yes, just keep proposing interesting stuff to do which you yourself would enjoy. Also, there may be no response, but your friends may appreciate your efforts anyway. Good luck.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,774 ✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    Such is life. We move on to new stages with new priorities. Most friendships from our early years don't last into out more mature older years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,375 ✭✭✭✭Sardonicat

    Friends 1 and 2 are caught up with their families. Life rarely runs smoothly with a young family and the promised catch ups have probably just been put on the ever lengthening long finger.

    You know friend 4 is going through a stressful time, so it's not about you.

    Friend 3? Maybe try and contact her again and see how she is? She'd just got married when you last saw her and now is caught up in starting married life. See how she responds.

    Different life stages can cause us to drift apart from our friends. Sometimes we drift together again, sometimes we don't. I'd suggest just putting out some gentle feelers and see how they respond. Don't be dwelling on whether it's something you've done to upset them. In the unlikely event you have, friends should be able to talk to you about it. If they can't do that as adults then it's time to move on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,457 ✭✭✭YellowLead

    It’s sounds like it’s just a natural progression and not you specifically. People have less time for friends when married with kids. Work and hobbies can add to that. Throw in distance and it’s going to be a rare thing. I doubt anyone is judging you for not being at their life stage, things have just changed for them that’s all.

    I have friends I only see once a year and it’s totally cool - we still have a great catchup as if we see each other every day.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 30,645 Mod ✭✭✭✭Faith

    It could absolutely be just life stages. Getting married, having kids, living abroad - they're all very consuming things that can interfere with routine friendships. I notice a lot of avoidance on your part, where you seem to perceive an issue and react by avoiding addressing it. What's stopping you from bringing it up with each individual friend, I wonder?

    The other thought I had - and it's an outside contender, based on nothing but pure imagination - is, is it possible your new boyfriend has anything to do with it? You mention him being quiet. Would you be likely to often bring him with you when you meet your friends? Could it be possible that they haven't gelled with him and figure you'd bring him if they arrange to see you, so they avoid you because of him? The main reason I ask is I've had the experience of a friend getting a new boyfriend who the rest of us found him highly aversive, and we'd definitely have decreased frequency of seeing her in person when there was a risk she'd bring him along.

    All that being said, I think they only thing you can really do is have a conversation with each of your friends to explore what's going on from their perspectives.

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